The Greek word ekklesia (church) refers to a meeting or gathering of a people who are called out and brought together for a purpose. in the NT this group is a congregation or community of God`s people - those who accept Christ`s message, entrust their lives to him and come together as citizens of God`s kingdom Eph. 2:19
We who are beneficiaries have reasons for sharing our deepest appreciation for those spiritual ancestors from whom we are descended. Our anointed sisters and brothers in Christ. Armed with many prayers, God`s Word as their blueprint, a faithful core of believers acknowledged the need for a place to worship. This vision became a reality in 1977 when a committed and courageous group of Christians met in the home of the late Mother Doris H. Toliver and her husband the late Deacon Kermit Toliver at 9330 Calapisa Street located in the historic city of New Orleans, Louisiana.
On August 18, 1978, Bible Way Baptist Church was officially registered with the Louisiana Secretary Of State as a religious organization in the State Of Louisiana. The first officers of Bible Way Baptist Church were the late Kermit Toliver, Doris H. Toliver, Sadie Knox, and George Garrison. The steadfastness of these men and woman who saw with burning clarity the vision God placed before them, contributed to the growth of this spiritual institution. We are grateful to these Christian soldiers for their rich spiritual insight.
January 2002, after much prayer and searching Bishop Toris T. Young, was called by God and elected by the people and board of directors to become pastor/c.e.o. of Bible Way Bibleway Baptist Church with a life appointment. Bishop Young asked for a life appointment because in order to fulfill God`s call much change had to take place in order to set God`s house in order. In 2002 there was no money, no equipment, no technology just debt and legal problems caused by the former pastor.
Bishop Young called a church-wide fast and prayer for 40 days and 40 nights to get Bible Way hearing the voice of God and allowing him to direct us as a congregation. The fast and prayer was a success soul were saved, relationships were built, and forgiveness began. Bishop Young led Bible Way out of the crisis that it`s former pastor and family had caused this great church to endure. church equipment was purchased, church giving increased by 2000 % and church attendance had never been seen at the level Bible Way had ever seen, Federal, State, and local officials began visits to the church Governors, Mayors, Council Members, U.S. Commerce Secretary, Attorney General`s, Judges, U.S. Senators, Congressman, Foreign leaders from around the world have visit (GBCI) since Bishop Young took over as pastor.
In May of 2002 Bibleway Baptist Church began to do business as Greater Bibleway Church, Bishop Young and the leadership board decided there was no need to advertise a denomination for it only boxed the church into a certain identity and we wanted to be a church associated with Christ only. Greater Bibleway Church began to operate in ways never seen by being a community cradle in kingdom quality. In 12 months (GBCI) grew from 50 active members to over 300 active adult members and was having three Sunday service to seat the growing church.
In the same year, 2002 Bishop Toris T. Young and the active members of Bible Way Baptist Church made a change to its governmental Structure and it now operates as an Episcopal with a Bishop and the governing board being the legislative body with a minimum of 17 board members and the Bishop being the authority given by God.
The church further developed a women`s Department, Sunday School, Young Peoples Department, Home, and Foreign Mission.
Doctrinally (GBCI) is basically Trinitarian, teaching the infallibility of scripture, the need for regeneration and the subsequent baptism of the Holy Ghost.
We emphasize the holiness as God`s standard of Christian conduct. We recognize as ordnances Holy Communion, water baptism, and feet washing to include all feast from the OT church.
In 2009 the Official name of Bible Way Baptist Church was changed to GREATER BIBLEWAY CHURCH INTERNATIONAL (GBCI)
the church constitution was changed to meet the 21st-century church, by-laws wad formed, church operating agreement was in place, technology is used to manage church affairs to have integrity and accountability Thus, we were re-established and a Flourishing church on the wings of Faith. which such dynamic leader and gospel preacher as our chief shepherd presiding Bishop Toris T. Young, the church continued to grow and within two years the building was too small to house the programs and or members. A major renovation and expansion project took place and was done debt free in 2004 with additional seating capacity as well the Cheryl L.M Washington Educational and the multi-purpose building was built and dedicated, serve the public and other venues.
A full line kitchen that serves over 2,000 hot meals a week, a computer lab to serve the youth and community at large, Career and resource center was created and operated at full capacity to the public, Drug/Alcohol treatment center, Adopt a School was created, Youth Church was Implemented, Summer Camp Program, Three Annual Revivals, Home Buyer`s classes, Investment Courses, College Guidance program, Church Annual cook Out at City park, Annual Mission Trips each year began, 2940 Joliet Street became a beacon of hope to the city of New Orleans and the world. In 2004 the Greater Bibleway Housing and Community Development Corp. Of Louisiana our 501 (c) 3 was organized and began to handle housing programs, land bank, Financial literacy program, and all other social service programs for the church and the world as a whole. Partnership with the private and public sector was established in order to meet the need`s of all people no matter race, religion or background through the CDC.
The church library was established the Lora Bush foundation was a major sponsor of this program today many others help to provide books and resources to educate the people we serve around the world.(GBCI) continued to prosper spiritually and physically the membership had exceeded 1,500 adults and on August 2005 the largest natural disaster in U.S. History hit the city of New Orleans and wiped out all physical building owned by (GBCI) all at once we became a homeless church. But we were able to operate out of our corporate office located at 365 Canal Street Suite 2600 cross from Harrah`s Casino, we began to locate our members across the United States and began services in Houston Texas at New Faith Church and in the city of Atlanta service was held at multiple locations. Bible study was being held in city`s across the country until our people could find themselves back to there homes. We are still re-building in New Orleans at 2936 through 2940 Joliet, 2927-29 Joliet, 8515 Pritchard Place, 8915 South Claiborne Ave. and Apple and Cambronne Street all of these locations will house programs and other church operations once fully running again, it will take years to rebuild in the city of New Orleans.
Fire destroyed 2940 Joliet Street New Orleans Louisiana once 85% complete and again we lost our investment into that property once again, But if God is for us who can be against Us.....We are still growing and still marching forward.
(GBCI) has been growing by leaps and bounds, it is encouraging, with now having locations and operations, missions in Africa, Guyana, Trinidad, Jamaica, Bahamas, Haiti, Dominican, Mexico, Canada, and the United States of America.
(GBCI) is involved in humanitarian, social justice, civil rights and evangelical outreach, education and economic development.
2018 the best is yet to come.